Why Rituals in Your Professional Life Are so Powerful

Rituals are a powerful practice that can help you both conserve energy and achieve your personal and professional objectives. With practice, the actions you take to achieve your goals can become automatic. As Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz write in their book The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal (public library), rituals are an effective tool that can help you get the results you want and mold your life the way you want.

Positive energy rituals are powerful on three levels. They help us to insure that we effectively manage energy in the service of whatever mission we are on. They reduce the need to rely on our limited conscious will and discipline to take action. Finally, rituals are a powerful means by which to translate our values and priorities into action—to embody what matters most to us in our everyday behaviors.

The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz


[Photo: Peter Gabas/Unsplash]

[Photo: Peter Gabas/Unsplash]

We all have daily rituals, which we have intentionally or unintentionally developed along the way to ensure we do the things we need to do. These may include the steps we take to get ready in the morning (e.g., reading the newspaper and mentally preparing for the day) or winding down before going to sleep by reading a book and shutting off all technology. Once the motions we need to achieve our goals become subconscious, the rituals that we have developed help us reduce the energy needed to take that action otherwise.

Great performers, whether they are athletes or fighter pilots, surgeons or Special Forces soldiers, FBI agents or CEOs, all rely on positive rituals to manage their energy and achieve their goals.

The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

Further rituals can then be developed to help you improve your energy levels while helping you in your every day. Perhaps you want to have more physical energy during the day, or maybe you need to better prepare for challenging and recurrent meetings at your office. Rituals can be a good tool to support you in achieving these goals. You might, for instance, develop a set of actions you use before every meeting, such as reading the agenda, researching the topics, and preparing any documents you will bring along.

The more exacting the challenge, the more rigorous our rituals need to be.

The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

Athletes develop rigid routines and rituals for optimum performance. In the same way, we can build precise support in the form of rituals for the challenges we face. These specific practices will support the results you wish to achieve.

Rituals also help us to create structure in our lives.

The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

Rituals create routines. You may, for instance, write for a few minutes early in the morning. Then, your next ritual might be working out at the gym. Next, you have breakfast with your family. All these rituals have a purpose: you write as a creative outlet or for your work, you work out for your physical health, and you share time with your family to deepen your relationships and enhance your emotional well-being. When these blocks of time become part of your regular schedule, they not only help you achieve your goals, but they also provide a set routine in your life.

To make lasting change, we must build serial rituals, focusing on one significant change at a time.

The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

Once we discover the power of rituals, it might be tempting to move forward and make all the changes at once. Nevertheless, that impulse may be defeating. Too much too soon may cause failure before you even start. It is much better to select your priorities and then implement the rituals that will help you achieve your objectives one by one.


[Photo: Charles Postiaux/Unsplash]

[Photo: Charles Postiaux/Unsplash]

Start by selecting the areas where you want to implement rituals in your life. Some areas you may wish to consider are:

  • Health: add a workout routine during your day, include a healthy meal, or take a walk during the day.

  • Friends and family: call a friend or family member once a week during a commute, add a fun activity with your kids during the weekend, set up a set time to have lunch or dinner with your parents/friends every two weeks.

  • Productivity: start the day with a long-term project that is important to your career, check all incoming messages at one time during a specific time of the day.

  • Renewal: take a break at 3 PM every day for 10 minutes to walk or write in your journal, start taking the drumming lessons you have meant to sign up for, meditate for a few minutes in the middle of the day.

Rituals are the way to make the incremental changes we want to see in our lives. The more positive and deliberate rituals we implement to become a part of our routine, the more energy will be freed up. Furthermore, these schedules can support us during the day by allowing spaces for respite. This support combined with the new energy in our schedules will help you achieve more of what you want.

Loehr, Jim and Schwartz, Tony. The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal. First Edition. Free Press, 2003. E-book.

Pamela Ayuso - About the Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pamela Ayuso is an author and the co-founder and CEO of Celaque. She is a real estate entrepreneur and developer who has executive leadership experience in two of the most successful real estate developers in Honduras — managing operations at Alianza and leading Celaque. Celaque develops office and residential buildings and manages a broad portfolio of properties. Pamela’s focus is on growing Celaque into a model for the 21st-century company.

In addition to her role as CEO at Celaque, Pamela is the author of Amazon best-selling book, Heptagram: The 7-Pillar Business Design System for the 21st Century. She offers practical business and personal development insights for other entrepreneurs and business leaders on her blog and LinkedIn. Her husband and her three wonderful daughters inspired the story of her first children’s book, Alicia and Bunnie Paint a Mural.       

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